A British man freed in eastern Ukraine during an exchange revealed on Sunday that his captors tortured and stabbed him in the back and forced him to sing the Russian national anthem.
In his first interview in the UK after his release on Wednesday with four other Britons held by pro-Russian forces, Aiden Aslin told The Sun newspaper that interrogators had tortured him and threatened to kill him.
Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire in central England, was living in Ukraine and serving in the Marine Corps when the Russian offensive began in February.
The young man was captured during the fighting and in June a separatist court in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, sentenced him to death for being a mercenary.
Aslin confirmed to the British newspaper that he was repeatedly hit with a baton during interrogation, and on one occasion he fell to the ground after receiving a blow to the forehead, prompting an officer to stand next to him and tell him: “I am your death. “. “
Aslin added, showing several scars on his back: “He pointed to my back. He showed me his knife and I realized he stabbed me.” Her executioner asked him if she wanted a quick death or a beautiful death, and he replied: “a quick death”, and her answer was: “No, you will die a beautiful death”.
Aslin was freed in a swap brokered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in which Moscow obtained a former Ukrainian deputy close to President Vladimir Putin, in exchange for fighters captured at the Azovstal factory in Mariupol.
Aslin said he was kept in solitary confinement in a small cell with lice and cockroaches and no natural light, where he was treated “worse than a dog”;
The newspaper reported that his kidnappers “put on the Russian national anthem and ordered him to stand up and repeat his words, or he would be beaten again.”
The former prisoner praised the role of Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, former owner of Chelsea Football Club, telling The Sun newspaper: “I want to thank Abramovich from the bottom of my heart. I’m here today because of him and I’m not in that terrible place.” He added that the businessman appeared as the men boarded a plane to Riyadh and shook his hand, confirming earlier reports.
Britain and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Abramovich, an ally of the Russian president.
As a reminder, Russian authorities arrested Moroccan student Ibrahim Saadoun last April, along with Britons Eden Aslin and Sean Benner, after they fought alongside Ukrainian forces in Mariupol.